When fans have come to Neyland Stadium over the last decade, they haven’t been treated to the home dominance the Vols had back in the 1990s and early 2000s. Back then, the hundreds of thousands of Vol fans who filled Neyland every Saturday were usually treated to a victory or at least some competitive match-ups with conference rivals.
But over the last 10 years, that hasn’t been the case.
Tom Fornelli of CBS Sports posted an article discussing the betting trends of every team in the SEC over the last decade (or up until 2012 in the cases of Texas A&M and Missouri). And the data he found for Tennessee might surprise you.
Not only have the Vols been bad overall “against the spread” in betting, but they’ve been particularly bad at home and when they’ve been underdogs in Neyland Stadium.
“Much like Texas A&M, you want to bet against Tennessee when it’s at home,” Fornelli writes. “The Vols are 28-43-1 ATS at Neyland since 2008. Pay particular attention when the Vols are a home dog, as they’re 5-15 ATS.”
Two things immediately stand out about the numbers Fornelli presents. The first part that jumps out is that the Vols have been home underdogs 20 times over the last 10 years. That means they’ve been favored to lose on average twice a year in Neyland Stadium. The second aspect that stands out is that the Vols have been an abysmal 5-15 in those games, meaning they’ve only managed to cover the betting spread five times in those 20 match-ups.
That means the Vols have lost by more than what Vegas expected them to lose by 15 of the 20 times they’ve been underdogs at home.
The majority of those losses at home can be attributed to Alabama and Florida over the last decade. The Vols have been blown out by Alabama almost every time they’ve played them regardless of where the match-up has been, and Florida dominated Tennessee for years before Tennessee could catch up to them.
Other games, such as the Vols’ loss to Oklahoma in 2015, featured a much smaller spread that Tennessee didn’t end up covering despite a small margin in the final score.
Regardless, Tennessee’s record against the spread at home overall has been bad. Tennessee won against UMass and Southern Miss last year at home, but those wins were much closer than expected, thus qualifying them as a loss against the spread.
Overall in SEC play, the Vols have gone just 17-23 at home over the last 10 seasons. Tennessee has only had three seasons in that span in which they ended the year with a winning record at home in conference play. The Vols haven’t gone undefeated in SEC play in Neyland Stadium since the 2007 season.